Houston Astros take big hit in not signing top pick

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The Astros knew they took a large risk when they drafted Brady Aiken at No. 1 overall in this year's draft. What they didn't know was how quickly that risk would come into play.

The rash of recent Tommy John elbow surgeries has teams extremely careful on what they are playing for. So, when an oddity (enlarged ulnar collateral ligament) showed up in his physical after agreeing to terms with the team, things changed.

Houston was concerned. It was all understandable.

History against him

Before Aiken, only two high school left-handed pitcher had been selected No. 1 overall in the draft.

One was David Clyde, who the Texas Rangers brought to the major leagues as a means of selling tickets immediately. Eventually, Clyde was sent to the minors. But, by then it was too late by then.

Clyde was never developed, like high school pitchers need to be. And he was out of the game soon after.

The other is Brien Taylor, who the New York Yankees selected No. 1 overall. Taylor was on the path to making the majors and impressive everywhere he went. But, one night we went to help out his brother at a disturbance at a bar. Taylor got involved in the fight, injured his arm, and never recovered.

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After the physical

After the anomaly showed up in Aiken's physical, then things got interesting. Teams now have a shorter window to sign players, and that ended at 4 p.m. CT on Friday.

The Astros reportedly had initially offered Aiken a record $6.5 million bonus that would have matched the Pirates' record signing of high schooler Jameson Taillon in 2010.

But that offer, along with an offer to a fifth rounder from the same agent, was then rescinded. reported that the next offer was less than $4 million and that the Astros got to as high as a $5 million before the negotiations failed and the deadline hit.

"We did reach out multiple times today," Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow told "For whatever reason, the other side wasn't responding. It was very fruitless negotiating against ourselves. We tried. We gave it our best shot to get a deal done with Brady, but it wasn't to be.

Now what?

We can start with the obvious, which is that the Astros won't have their No. 1 overall pick in their system. But all isn't lost. As compensation for not signing the pick, the Astros will get the No. 2 overall pick in next year's draft.

At that point, let's guess they won't pick a high school lefty again. And they won't pick Aiken, who can honor his commitment to UCLA and not be draft-eligible again until 2017 or go to junior college and be draft-eligible again next season. The same goes for fifth-round high school right-hander Jacob Nix, also represented by Aiken's agency and also committed to UCLA.

The Astros will also get their normally assigned pick. So, since they have the second worst record in baseball, if the season ended today they would go into the 2015 draft with the No. 2 and 3 overall picks.

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MLB American League
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